Instagram Launches “Stories”: What Parents Should Know

I’ve found, over the past year, the best way to describe the difference between Instagram and Snapchat is by looking at how we share. For Instagram we are highlighting moments from our day or week in a one off way that sticks around forever. Snapchat allows a you to share so much more by posting a continuous stream of pictures and video clips into a mini-movie called a story. As each segment of your story is posted, it received a 24 hour expiration. After one day, it’s gone.

This past week, Instragram launched the “Stories” feature on its app. Instagram fully gives credit to the creators of Snapchat for the idea for the sharing format. In a recent interview Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom admitted, ” “They deserve all the credit,” but insisted “This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”

Despite it’s insane popularity, sharing on Facebook-owned Instagram was down 15% in the beginning of 2016. The reasoning, according to Systrom, is that people don’t want to overwhelm their friends feeds with photos so they are selective about what is posted and as a result don’t post as often. “Stories” allows people to share those “in between” moments.

Systrom explains that “It basically solves a problem for all these people who want to take a ton of photos of an event or something in their lives, but want to manage what their profile looks like and not bomb feed, obviously, as that’s one of the no-nos on Instagram.”

Facebook has attempted this before with other apps like Poke, Slingshot, and Instragram Bolt but people didn’t want yet another app to keep up with. Instead of trying to create something new, Instagram has decided to go with what works.

Here’s the breakdown of the differences and similarities between the apps:

The same

  • The Stories format laces the last 24 hours of 10-second-max photos and videos you’ve shared into a slideshow you can tap to fast-forward through
  • Everything you post disappears after 1 day
  • You shoot full-screen in the app or upload things from the last 24 hours of your camera roll (recently added to Snapchat with Memories)
  • You adorn your photos with drawings, text, emojis and swipeable color filters
  • You can save your individual Story slides before or after posting them
  • Your followers voluntarily tap in to pull your Story and view it, instead of it being pushed into a single feed
  • People can swipe up to reply to your Stories, which are delivered through Instagram Direct private messages
  • You can see who’s viewed your Story


  • Instagram Stories appear in a row at the top of the main feed instead of on a separate screen like Snapchat, and are sorted by who you interact with most, not purely reverse chronological order like Snapchat
  • Anyone you allow to follow you on Instagram can see your Instagram Stories, though you can also block people, as opposed to building a separate network on Snapchat
  • You don’t have to be following someone to view their Instagram Stories, which can be viewed from their profile as long as they’re public
  • You can swipe right or tap the Stories icon in the top left to open the Stories camera, as opposed to Snapchat defaulting to the camera
  • You can hold the screen to pause a slideshow, or tap the left side to go back a slide, as opposed to Snapchat’s time-limited, constantly progressing Stories
  • You can’t add old content to Instagram Stories unless you re-import or screenshot, while Snapchat lets you share old Memories with a white border and timestamp around them
  • Instagram offers three brush types for drawing: standard, translucent highlighter and color-outlined neon, as opposed to Snapchat’s single brush
  • Instagram offers custom color control for drawing with an easy picker, as well as pre-made palettes like earth-tones or grayscale, while Snapchat custom color control is much more clumsy
  • Instagram currently lacks location filters, native selfie lens filters, stickers, 3D stickers and speed effects, but you can save content from third-party apps like Facebook-owned MSQRD and then share them
  • You can’t see who screenshotted your Instagram Story, while Snapchat warns you
  • You can’t save your whole day’s Story like on Snapchat, but you can post slides from your Story to the permanent Instagram feed


For me, I plan on sticking to Snapchat because I have a lot more control over who can see it as my Instagram account is public. But as a business owner and social media personality, I can see the appeal of utilizing a service with an already established audience.

For more information about “disappearing media” be sure to check out “What Parents Should Know About Snapchat“.

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit

You can purchase Josh’s book “Cyberbullying: Perpetrators, Bystanders & Victims” on Amazon! Available in paperback or for Kindle.

Imagine Dragons: Cyberbullies?

Anyone that has met me know that I have a sense of humor. Sometimes it’s a bit bleak but I always understand there’s a time and a place. If I spot something that seems out of place, shocking or funny I will gladly point it out to a friend to share a laugh or perhaps relive the tale later.

The last thing I would do is take that same moment and share it with over 9 million people.ImagineDragons0

On June 27, 2014 that’s exactly what was done by Imagine Dragons.

While walking through an airport in Sweden one of the band members spotted a man wearing what is referred to as a mankini (I think).  Now, I can totally see nudging my buddies to take a look and share a look of “what” and leave it at that. The band took it one step further by videotaping and man and posting the video to both their Instagram and Facebook pages. The combine total of their following on these sites is just shy of 10 million people.

I first saw the video on my Instagram feed and was very upset at what I was seeing (I’m having trouble embedding the video here but it can be found on their Facebook page in the June 27th posts.).  I took the time to compose my thoughts and posted them on the comments for both the Instagram and Facebook posts.

” Dear Imagine Dragons, I am going to kindly request that you remove this video from this and any other feeds. Whether you realize it or not, this is a form of cyberbullying and sending the wrong message to your 9 million plus followers here on Facebook. I know for a fact that many young people look up to you as role models and inspirations and by posting a video like this and laughing at someone who is different, you are delivering the idea that doing something like this is not only okay, but funny. I am a big fan of yours, with your CD playing almost non-stop in my car and seeing something like this on your feed is greatly disappointing. Please consider the impact that you have on the beliefs and values of your fans before posting photos and videos such as this. Imagine this person is a fan of yours and sees himself on your Facebook feed being made fun of. How do you think that would make him feel? How would it feel if someone did this to you. You have the unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many and that is not something that should be taken lightly. Thank you.”

As it has been a number of weeks since this has taken place and the video remains intact, it’s safe to assume that my comments have gone unnoticed by the band. They, however, did not go unnoticed by fans who were quick to stand by the band’s actions (click image to enlarge and read).


Rather than getting into a heated debate with these and other comments I decided to sit down here and share my full thoughts on this.

While I completely agree that it was never the band’s intentions to bully this gentlemen, their actions led others to negative actions and comments.  It took a while to find a comment “tame” enough to share. While many were just admiration of the band, others took ImagineDragons003their comments to the offensive level, sharing slurs and worse. Whether people realize it or not, this is a form of bullying and invasion of privacy.

Yes, this man was dressed in a way that certainly grabs your attention and I’m certain that the band aren’t the only ones that snapped photos and shared on social networking sites. But they were the ones with millions of followers.

As I mentioned in my comment to them, they are setting the standard for their fans. I have seen so many comments on their posts about how much they inspire people through good and bad. That is a lot of power to have and not something to take lightly.

Again, I’m one for a good chuckle but broadcasting this out to millions around the world is a bit much. It’s sharing the message that doing this is funny and okay. This is telling their millions of young fans that they can do this do and watch it go viral.

But you have to take the time to think of the people on the other side of this. Again, yes, clearly this man was wanting attention but how much? Based on some comments I read, this was more than likely a dare for a bachelor party. Something shared among those seeing it and that’s it.

Imagine Dragons gave him worldwide attention that perhaps he didn’t want.

It’s important to take a step back and think about actions. This is something I’m constantly telling my student audiences. Just because we have the power to share something with the world, doesn’t mean we should.

I’m once again going to ask that the band please remove this video from their feeds and take time to consider the full impact of their posts in the future.

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit

You can purchase Josh’s book “Cyberbullying: Perpetrators, Bystanders & Victims” on Amazon! Available in paperback or for Kindle.

Vine vs. Instagram: Which Is The Better Choice For Your Child

Last week’s entries about what parents should know about Vine and Instagram (with video) have created an interesting response in my inbox. Many parents want to know- which is better for my kid?

SPOILER ALERT: The winner is going to be Instagram.vine-vs-instagram


Both Instagram and Vine give users the ability to keep their content private. By selecting this option (click “Edit My Profile” in Instagram, “Settings” followed by “My Content” on Vine) the only people that can see posts by a user and the ones that have been approved by the user to follow them. If you do not approve a user to follow you, they cannot see anything you are posting but your profile is still public. (I’m not sure how this applies to “revining” a video as its new to the latest update and I’ve had Vine for about two days).

I will also note that, until the most recent Vine update, there was no such thing as privacy on the app. This is important to know because if you are using the app and now wish for your content to be private- you can do so!


The problem I have with Vine (and the reason that it is the loser in this game) is the content. Within minutes of being on the app I was able to locate pornographic material. Lots of it.

Twitter (who owns Vine) has no policy when it comes to inappropriate content on its site. This has lead to a large amount of mature posts onto the app. Though the app does restrict certain words from being used in hash tags (which users can search to find certain content, like puppies, why aren’t there more puppies?) this has just caused “mature” users to get more creative in how they tag posts. On that falls through the cracks is #NSFW (Not Safe For Work) which you can imagine will be posts that you don’t want to be watching at work.

This lack of content filtering is what lead Apple to request that the age limit for Vine be changed from 12+ to 17+. If you have set age restrictions on your child’s device, they won’t be able to download the app.

Facebook (who owns Instagram) has different views when it comes to inappropriate content. They forbid it. Within the Terms of Service for Instagram you will find the following: “While we respect the artistic integrity of photos and videos, we have to keep our product and the content within it in line with our App Store’s rating for nudity and mature content. In other words, please do not post nudity or mature content of any kind.”

Inappropriate content on Instagram can be reported by users and subsequently investigated and removed by Instagram. Repeat offenders will have their accounts suspended.

So there you have it. If you’re wondering which app is best for your child, I would go with Instagram. You will certainly be able to rest easier knowing that their access to inappropriate material is restricted to the point of non existence (though it’s important to know that borderline inappropriate material can and does exist, it’s likely to be less graphic).

If you’re curious as to which app’s features and interface are the best, I suggest checking out this awesome side-by-side comparison by TechSplurge (I’m also going to take this moment to give them credit for the graphic I used for this post- you’ll recognize it from their entry).

Do you have a preference? Let me know in the comments section below!

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit

You can purchase Josh’s book “Cyberbullying: Perpetrators, Bystanders & Victims” on Amazon! Available in paperback or for Kindle.

What Parents Should Know About Instagram

After my post about SnapChat, I’ve had a number of parents e-mailing and asking about other Apps and Social Media. Inspired, I’m now making answering these questions a regular series on the blog. These entries will be posted on Fridays. Have something you’re wondering about? Send me a message and I’ll do my best to find an answer:

I will admit that I’m a big fan of Instagram. I joined and posted my first picture just over a year ago and I’ve been hooked. One of the reasons I love it so much is because it allows me not only to share photos from my time on the road, but geo-tagging helps me create a fun map of places I have been. This past spring, I began taking photos of schools I have visited and using these posts to give a shout-out to the great audiences and allow students and teachers to comment and share their thoughts on the program.


While I’m having a lot of fun with the app, it seems others are having a less enjoyable experience. Parents are growing very concerned with the safety and well-being of their children. I’ve compiled some things all parents should know about the app and how to best keep their kids safe.

Like most social apps, Instagram allows users to protect their privacy by selecting the option “Photos are Private”. By selecting this you are hiding your photos from the outside world and you, from there, can select who is able to follow your posts. Please note that this only hides your photos- information like your name, bio and profile picture are public no matter what.

Geo Tagging
While it’s great to have a map of your travels, it’s important to understand what it means to be creating this map. The option to “Add to Your Photo Map” is turned off by default. Once it’s turned on, however, it remains that way until you turn it back off. It’s important to make sure you are aware of what setting is active when uploading, especially when doing so from home. Forgetting to turn it off will allow others to see where you were at the time of upload.

Instagram allows users to share their photos beyond the world of the app and onto social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. If a user chooses to share beyond the app, it’s important that they check the privacy settings on that particular network. For instance, on Twitter, the photo and location will be public unless your profile is set to private.

Keeping your friends real is the best thing you can do with this app and all social networking. My general rule of thumb is: if they aren’t a contact in my phone, they aren’t my friends. I would even expand that out to: if I’ve never been in the same room as this person, I’m not going to be their friend. In the digital world you can’t be too safe!

Keeping Safe

Like on Facebook, Instagram (which is owned by the Zuckerberg empire) users can be tagged in the photos of others. It’s important to keep an eye on what photos you or your child are being tagged in and how they could affect them. It is possible to untag yourself if the person’s profile is public. Otherwise, you’ll have to ask that you be removed.

Instagram also allows for a user to block another. Once a user is blocked, they will not be able to see your profile or pictures, tag photos of you, or mention you in comments. This is a great tool if you don’t want someone having any access to you or if they are repeatedly harassing you.

Users can also be reported for violating Instagram’s Community Guidelines. If you or your child find that someone is misusing the app or violating anything mentioned in the guidelines, report them. The claim will be investigated by the folks at Instagram and appropriate action will be taken.

As always, I encourage you to learn as much as possible about the app and share in your child’s experiences. Ask them questions or even ask them to teach you how to use the app on your own phone. Follow them and their friends and let them know that you’re keeping an eye on the things they post.

What have your experiences with Instagram as a parent been like? I’d love to hear about it!

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit

You can purchase Josh’s book “Cyberbullying: Perpetrators, Bystanders & Victims” on Amazon! Available in paperback or for Kindle.
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